In 3X9 Series bass tournament action this week, high angler participation and big fish were once again par for the course.
As the 60 participating teams returned to the weigh-in site adjacent to the Stillhouse Hollow Marina on Tuesday, two fish weighed in at over 9 pounds. The heaviest, brought in by the consistently high-placing team of Paul Stokes and John Guerra, weighed 9.59 pounds. The second heaviest, brought in by father-and-son team BJ and Kaden Ward, weighed 9.27 pounds.
That second heaviest largemouth bass catapulted the Wards into first place, their first ever top finish in the 3X9 Series. Their total three-fish limit weighed in at 16.63 pounds and earned them $1,005.
Less than a pound behind the Wards was Stokes and Guerra with their big bass anchoring their 15.67-pound sack. That sack earned the men $615, which included the big bass prize money.
Stokes recounted the capture of the big bass, saying, “(It) had been a pretty tough afternoon until after dark. The big girl bit in 22 feet of water along a grass edge on a Texas rig. She pulled like a tank in the dark but ol’ Johnny and his netting skills came through again. Soon after that we caught another 3½-pounder that helped us get second.”
Third place this week went to Ed Cole and Billy Freeman. This team wound up with three bass weighing 15.42 pounds.
Despite slowly dropping water caused by human consumption, evaporation and lack of rainfall, the abundance of water present heading into the dry summer months has kept the reservoir at less than 3 feet low. Abundant hydrilla growing in as deep as 24 feet of water provides excellent habitat for bass and for the sunfish and other forage fish which bass consume.
Of the 60 teams participating this week, 28 weighed in at least one fish. In all, 72 fish were brought to the scales. Those fish weighed a cumulative 227.55 pounds. This yielded an average per fish weight of 3.16 pounds and an average weight per team of 3.73 pounds.
Despite the heat, which makes fish more vulnerable to heat stress, 100% of the fish brought to the scales were successfully released alive.